55 Best Songs That Ask a Question in the Title or Lyrics

Best Songs That Ask a Question in the Title or Lyrics

Whether falling in love, heartbroken, hopeful, or longing, music is there through all life's moments.

It only makes sense that music can ask universal questions, too. We've compiled the best songs about questions. Hopefully, these songs offer a little melody and comfort to life's questions.


“What's Up?” by 4 Non Blondes

Song year: 1992

4 Non Blondes helped set the stage for the hippie-ish side of the 90s with their hit single “What's Up?” Not only is this song an anthem for inquiring minds, but it speaks to the dichotomy between slackerdom and social consciousness that would embody the decade.

“Where Is My Mind?” by Pixies

Song year: 1988

Alternative rock darlings, the Pixies, summed up what many of us often ask ourselves when they wrote “Where Is My Mind?”

With its slinky lead guitar and haunting female backing vocals, “Where Is My Mind?” sounds just as unsettled and weird as someone that asks themselves that very question.

Whether it's playing at the end of Fight Club or blaring from a college dorm, “Where Is My Mind?” is always the operative question.

“Have You Ever Seen the Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Song year: 1971

Though many attribute its lyrics to the Vietnam War, Creedence Clearwater Revival's “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” was written about their impending breakup.

After years of wild success, CCR was on the verge of a split due to infighting. “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” was singer John Fogerty's comment on the sorry state of their band despite all their success. Ironically, the song would become another hit.

“Are You That Somebody” by Aaliyah

Song year: 1998

With top-shelf production from Timbaland and a classic vocal performance from Aaliyah, “Are You That Somebody” is now considered one of the best r&b songs of the 90s.

Originally recorded for the Dr. Doolittle soundtrack, “Are You That Somebody” is a classic tale of sizing up your crush to find out if they've got what it takes. We can all relate to Aaliyah looking for someone that can be good and bad.

“What Are You Doin' in My Life?” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Song year: 1979

Tom Petty is desperately trying to shake an ex on “What Are You Doin' in My Life?” from the classic album Damn the Torpedoes.

While most of us can't relate to being stalked like a rockstar, singing along with Petty on this classic rock burner allows the listener to experience the spoils – and trials – of rock and roll.

“How Could You Babe” by Tobias Jesso Jr.

Song year: 2015

When you've given years of your life to someone, only to hear they've called someone else the love of their life, you couldn't feel much lower. Tobias Jesso Jr. has perfectly captured that raw emotion in “How Could You Babe.”

Love isn't always easy. Sometimes you have to let people you love leave your life. It hurts, but with songs like “How Could You Babe,” at least you'll have a companion.

“Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)” by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

Song year: 1980

Joan Jett got saucy with The Blackhearts on “Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah).” The song is a scorching punk-rock invitation to fool around, and its energy and raw sensuality helped it land on the Billboard charts in 1982.

Between Joan Jett's growling vocals and her backing band's hand claps and background vocals, “Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)” is an empoweringly catchy love song.

“Don't You Want Me” by The Human League

Song year: 1981

The Human League initially disliked “Don't You Want Me,” though their stance on the song changed after topping the charts in both the UK and US.

“Don't You Want Me” wasn't originally conceived as a duet, but after taking inspiration from the film A Star is Born, The Human League would tap background singer Susan Ann Sulley to help tell their story of relationship power dynamics.

“Do You Remember Rock ‘n' Roll Radio?” by Ramones

Song year: 1980

The Ramones were revolutionary when they hit the New York rock scene in the late 70s, but their influences were always nostalgic. Nowhere is this better illustrated than on their ode to oldies, “Do You Remember Rock ‘n' Roll Radio?”

With production from Phil Spector, “Do You Remember Rock ‘n' Roll Radio?” name drops rockstars of days past with a wall of sound production technique, making the Ramones part of the tradition they're celebrating.

“Where Do the Children Play?” by Cat Stevens

Song year: 1970

Partially about childhood and partially about environmentalism, Cat Stevens' “Where Do the Children Play?” stands as beautiful sentiment about the simplicity of childhood.

For all the progress we've made in modern times, asking how our children will be affected by the change is overwhelming. Cat Stevens' soothing sincerity calms the question's underlying anxiety and assures the listener that they're not alone.

“Where Did Our Love Go” by The Supremes

Song year: 1964

Falling out of love never sounded so good. The Supremes' “Where Did Our Love Go” captures the burning question surrounding the flame that has all but burned out.

With masterful Motown musicians bolstering the vocal magic of Dianna Ross and The Supremes, this classic song of love lost is crucial to the fabric of American heartbreak. It also became the Supremes' first number-one single.

“Do I Wanna Know?” by Arctic Monkeys

Song year: 2013

The Arctic Monkeys, courtesy of their post-Britpop sound, make that ex you can't shake sound downright dangerous on “Do I Wanna Know?” With a foot-stomping melody and a heavy blues guitar riff, the desperate feeling of carrying a torch never sounded so dark.

“Do I Wanna Know?” would become a hit single for the Arctic Monkeys on both sides of the Atlantic, and the video would earn the rare status of over a billion views on YouTube.

“Ever Fallen in Love (with Someone You Shouldn't've?)” by Buzzcocks

Song year: 1978

One of the finest songs of early UK punk, the Buzzcocks' “Ever Fallen In Love (with Someone You Shouldn't've?),” asks a question most people can answer in the affirmative.

The Buzzcocks wrote catchy pop songs with the manic energy of punk. This nervy sound made their songs about love sound urgent, a quality befitting their youthfully raw perspectives on relationships.

“Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash

Song year: 1982

By the 80s, The Clash had branched out from their punk rock roots. After their reggae and dub influences infiltrated the double album London Calling, the band synthesized these elements into one sound on Combat Rock.

“Should I Stay or Should I Go” was one of The Clash's least political songs, but their fiery punk spirit still gave it a swagger. Their question is vague but loaded with subtext, and like the best songs, it means different things to each listener. But it always rocks.

Song year: 1999

Blink-182 were the class clowns of 90s pop-punk, and nowhere is this more evident than on their single “What's My Age Again?” Over a sparkling guitar riff, the band lays out the woes of an immature narrator navigating a love in a world that's growing up around them.

“What's My Age Again?” would become one of Blink-182's biggest hits, proof that no one ever really wants to grow up.

“Life on Mars?” by David Bowie

Song year: 1971

Though it wouldn't be a stretch coming from the musician that would become Ziggy Stardust, David Bowie's “Life on Mars?” has nothing to do with outer space. The provocative title is an allusion to Bowie's longing for escape.

David Bowie has become a cultural icon as a symbol of rebellion in the form of “otherness.” It's no surprise then that “Life on Mars?” is considered one of his masterworks.

“Who Can It Be Now?” by Men At Work

Song year: 1981

Men At Work found themselves with a bigger hit in the US than their native Australia with the new-wave classic “Who Could It Be Now?” The song's story of wanting to be left alone is instantly relatable, and the repetitive chorus quickly brands the lyrics to memory.

Thanks to its catchy saxophone riff and staccato rhythm guitar, the song would become synonymous with new-wave, ensuring that Men At Work would remain working for years to come.

“What's Going on” by Marvin Gaye

Song year: 1971

When Marvin Gaye presented the finished recording of “What's Going On” to Motown Records, label head Barry Gordy refused to release it. It wasn't until Gaye refused to release any other music that “What's Going on” was released.

It's a good thing Gaye stood his ground. “What's Going on” has become a protest anthem for multiple generations and an iconic portrait of 20th century America.

“Wouldn't It Be Nice?” by The Beach Boys

Song year: 1966

“Wouldn't It Be Nice” signals the beginning of a new pop style as the opening track to The Beach Boys' classic album, Pet Sounds. With its innocently posed question of love, the song's sentiment is universal.

However, nothing was universal about recording “Wouldn't It Be Nice.” The Beach Boys' Brian Wilson was innovating approaches to the recording studio. His creativity, coupled with perfectionism, changed pop musicians' approach to composition and recording forever.

“Why Can't I Be You?” by The Cure

Song year: 1987

Loving someone so much you wish you became them the subject of The Cure's “Why Can't I Be You?” Beneath its veneer of a love song, its sentiment is a rather creepy take on love. Given The Cure's reputation as mopey goths, it's no surprise they took such an approach.

“Why Can't I Be You?” became one in a string of hist for The Cure and was part of the band's transition from new wave pioneers to international pop stars.

“Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet

Song year: 2003

Aussie garage rockers Jet wanted to know only one thing on their 2003 single, “Are You Gonna Be My Girl.” Judging by the resounding chart success of the song, it seems the answer was a yes.

Jet helped shape a garage rock revival at the turn of the 21st century with their rocking pick-up line anthem.

“Why Does It Always Rain on Me?” by Travis

Song year: 1999

Travis wrote a perfectly dreary tune for the Eeyore inside of all of us when they penned “Why Does It Always Rain on Me?”

Everyone can relate to feeling stuck under a rain cloud. But if it sounds anything like Travis' Britpop style, it can't be all that bad. The world agreed, making the song Travis' first big breakthrough.

“What's Love Got to Do with It” by Tina Turner

Song year: 1984

Consistently ranking as one of the greatest songs of all time, Tina Turner's “What's Love Got to Do with It” is the most successful single of her storied career.

Turner's passionate vocals underscore the lust versus love lyrics of “What's Love Got to Do with It.” Far from bawdy, the song is an anthem of empowerment.

“(What's So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding” by Elvis Costello & The Attractions

What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love and Understanding by Elvis Costello & The Attractions

Song year: 1978

Elvis Costello had a reputation as an angry young man in the late 70s. It was ironic then that Costello would hit paydirt with a song called “(What's So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding.”

Though written by Nick Lowe, Costello and The Attractions' spirited take ensured the song would live on with its enduring question.

“How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston

Song year: 1985

By asking the question every other lovesick teen does when they develop a crush, Whitney Houston found a massive audience with “How Will I Know.”

Set to funky synthesizers and exploding with joy in the chorus, the pangs of excitement and self-doubt during puppy love become pop perfection on “How Will I Know.”

“Is She Really Going Out with Him?” by Joe Jackson

Song year: 1979

Joe Jackson captured the resentful ire of passed-over lovers on his new wave hit “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” Long before terms like “friend zone” would become the norm, Jackson and his band gave a spirited anthem to the forgotten.

Jackson would evolve as an artist into the 80s, but “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” remains a new wave classic.

“Do You Realize??” by The Flaming Lips

Song year: 2002

It isn't often that pop songs tackle mortality, let alone as beautifully as The Flaming Lips' “Do You Realize??” The Flaming Lips had experienced modest success through the 80s and 90s, but after 2002's Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, the band became a household name.

Through quirky instrumentation and meditations on death, The Flaming Lips created a classic song that asks big questions.

“Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” by Culture Club

Song year: 1982

Boy George and Culture Club let themselves be vulnerable on the 80s pop classic, “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me.” The song made heartbreak a head-bopping affair with reggae undertones and a catchy chorus.

Coupled with a video highlighting Boy George's outlandish aesthetic, “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me” is a unique and lasting testament to 80s culture.

“Isn't She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder

Song year: 1976

There aren't as many experiences in life as lovely as welcoming a new child into the world. Stevie Wonder captures the joy of parenthood by asking a simple question in his ode to his daughter, “Isn't She Lovely.”

In Wonder's typical fashion, “Isn't She Lovely” is a funky slice of soul and has become a standard in the pop world.

“What's the Frequency, Kenneth?” by R.E.M.

Song year: 1994

As an obtuse reference to an assault of news anchor Dan Rather, “What's the Frequency, Kenneth?” continues the R.E.M. tradition of opaque lyricism delivered in a mumbling manner. But when the songs rock this hard, it's hard not to at least try to sing along.

“What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” by Jimmy Ruffin

Song year: 1966

Standing in the shadows of The Temptations' David Ruffin, older brother Jimmy Ruffin's Motown career also yielded several hit songs. His classic ode to broken hearts, “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted,” is a standard of the golden era of Motown.

Ruffin charted twice with “What Become of the Brokenhearted,” and the song is considered one of the best of Motown Records.

“Who Are You” by The Who

Song year: 1978

The meaning behind The Who's “Who Are You” is an aggregate of several personal experiences of guitarist Pete Townshend. But the song's simple chorus and fiery delivery have made it a chest-thumping for generations.

“Who Are You” would be one of the last songs recorded before the death of drummer Keith Moon, and it stands as the final hit from their classic line-up.

“Why Can't This Be Love” by Van Halen

Song year: 1986

Some people refuse to recognize Van Halen after the departure of David Lee Roth in 1985. I am inclined to agree that Van Hagar is an inferior band, but it's hard to deny Sammy Hagar and company on their arena-rock anthem “Why Can't This Be Love.”

Van Halen's incorporation of synthesizers inspired legions of hard rock bands to follow suit, changing the face of rock and roll.

“Why Can't We Be Friends” by War

Song year: 1975

War's funky, group sing-along “Why Can't We Be Friends” was a big hit in the 70s, capturing a light social commentary and wrapping it up with a jubilant bow.

“Why Can't We Be Friends” has become a staple of feel-good funk, so much so that even NASA has used the song in their relations with Russian cosmonauts.

“Didn't I” by Darondo

Song year: 1972

Darondo's “Didn't I” didn't receive much attention upon its initial release in the San Francisco area during the 70s. Darondo would host cable access television shows and play guitar on a cruise ship until a British disc jockey helped bring Darondo to mainstream prominence.

With the soothing soul of “Didn't I,” it's hard to imagine it took us this long to answer.

“Can't You Hear Me Knocking” by The Rolling Stones

Song year: 1971

The Rolling Stones, with their trademark swagger, are waiting for you to answer the door on “Can't You Hear Me Knocking.”

The song is one of many classic tunes from the Stones' string of hit albums in the 70s and highlights everything the band does well. This is one knock everyone should answer.

“Untitled (How Does It Feel)” by D'Angelo

Song year: 2000

With its steamy music video, D'Angelo's “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” became a hit on MTV and thrust the singer into the spotlight as a sexual icon.

Though his work as a multi-instrumentalist and singer in the neo-soul movement was pioneering, D'Angelo would retreat from the spotlight for years to avoid typecasting. “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” remains a celebrated hit of the 00s.

“Do You Want to Dance?” by Bobby Freeman

Song year: 1958

Who wouldn't want to dance after hearing Bobby Freeman's infectious “Do You Want to Dance?” This ode to cutting a rug would become a rock and roll standard, with numerous covers across the years, from rock and soul groups alike, hitting the top of the charts.

“What Would You Do?” by City High

Song year: 1999

City High's socially conscious “What Would You Do?” was an anomaly in telling the story of impoverished single parents while still hitting the charts in 2001.

Through different points of view, City High tells a story of parents struggling to get by, and their catchy chorus asks the empathetic question to the listener while begging to be sung along.

“Can I Kick It?” by A Tribe Called Quest

Song year: 1990

One of the best parts of A Tribe Called Quest's “Can I Kick It?” is that a group answers back the question in the affirmative.

This call and response makes the track, already familiar-sounding because of its Lou Reed sample, sound warm and inviting. The result is a hip-hop classic.

“Do Ya Wanna Taste It” by Wig Wam

Song year: 2010

Thirty years after glam metal's heyday, Norway's Wig Wam created a by-the-book rendering of the genre with “Do Ya Wanna Taste It?”

A decade after the song was released, a placement in HBO's Peacemaker brought the Norwegian group to mainstream audiences.

“Do You Love Me” by The Contours

Song year: 1962

A precursor to style Berry Gordy would adopt of mixing pop, rock, and r&b, The Contours' “Do You Love Me” can be seen as a prototype for the Motown Sound.

Unfortunately, The Contours would never have another hit as big as “Do You Love Me,” though the song would top the charts a second time in the 80s.

“Do You Believe in Magic?” by The Lovin' Spoonful

Song year: 1965

The sunnier side of 60s pop is on full display with The Lovin' Spoonful's “Do You Believe in Magic?” The song would be a hit a decade later for teen idol Shaun Cassidy, speaking to the indelible quality of the song's wide-eyed innocence.

“Believe” by Cher

Song year: 1998

Cher introduced the general public to auto-tune in a big way with her smash hit “Believe.” Coming back to the massive success of “Believe” after three decades in the entertainment industry cemented Cher's status as a 20th-century icon.

With this fist-pumping dance floor anthem, Cher tapped into the anxiety of the post-breakup psyche. The result was clubs across the floor littered in newly liberated sweat and tears.

“Is This It” by The Strokes

Song year: 2001

The tradition of cooly disaffected New York rock was revived in the early 21st century when The Strokes became one of the leading forces of the garage rock revival.

Though many of their peers took a decidedly raucous approach, The Strokes kept things understated with their subtly slackerish “Is This It.” Their album of the same name would kick off a renaissance of New York cool for a new generation.

“How Soon Is Now?” by The Smiths

Song year: 1984

Menacing guitars in The Smith's “How Soon Is Now?” punctuate a tale of shyness and a longing to belong. A favorite of Smiths' fans, the song has had a considerably long life in the public consciousness.

The creepy quality of “How Soon Is Now?” has made it a popular choice for film and television, most notably in the 90s movie The Craft and the 00s TV show Charmed.

“Can I Sit Next to You Girl” by AC/DC

Song year: 1974

“Can I Sit Next to You Girl” was AC/DC's introduction to the world, and though they would go on to much greater success in the coming decade, this 1974 single served as a first course for the band's brand of rowdy rock.

“Can I Sit Next to You Girl” asks a question many of us have asked on school buses across the country, lending this song a universal quality.

“Is This Love” by Whitesnake

Song year: 1987

Whitesnake's “Is This Love” was written for Tina Turner, and after listening to this power ballad, it's no surprise. The verses have a subdued but propulsive rhythm much like Turner's best 80s work, and the chorus explodes into an anthemic sing-along.

Fortunately, Whitesnake held on to “Is This Love,” and along with “Here I Go Again,” it became the one-two punch that would send their career into the stratosphere.

“Where Did You Sleep Last Night” by Nirvana

Song year: 1994

Nirvana's chilling take on the Leadbelly folk song “In the Pines” became the stunning finale of the band's Unplugged session for MTV as “Where Did You Sleep Last Night.”

The vocal performance by Kurt Cobain is powerful and raw, adding a rock flourish to a folk tune that others have covered countless times.

“Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz

Song year: 1993

Lenny Kravitz synthesized Jimi Hendrix and Grand Funk Railroad into his own brand of nostalgia-flavored rock and roll in the 90s. No song in his repertoire better represents his mission statement than “Are You Gonna Go My Way.”

With blaring guitars and a crack rhythm section, Kravitz's titular question sounds so classic that you'd almost swear this song was a cover of a forgotten classic. Instead, it became a modern one.

“Are You Lonesome Tonight?” by Elvis

Song year: 1960

Generations of lovesick souls have swayed along to Elvis' “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” which The King recorded after his stint in the US Army.

Though “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” had been recorded several times since 1927, Elvis' take became the definitive version, welcoming the Army veteran back into the limelight. With the outsized legend of Presley, “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” has become part of the pop music canon.

“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” by The Shirelles

Song year: 1960

The Shirelles were the first black girl group to have a number-one single in the US with the Carole King penned “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.”

That fact alone makes this track historic, but its fantastic writing and performance spawned several songs written in response and dozens of covers. King even recorded a version on her hit record Tapestry.

“What Is Love” by Haddaway

Song year: 1993

Thanks partially to a prominent role in the “Roxbury Guys” sketch on Saturday Night Live, German Eurodance artist Haddaway's “What Is Love” became one of the biggest dance tracks of the 90s.

“What Is Love” wasn't just a hit in the US as it became a number one hit in thirteen European countries and placed near the top of the charts in many others. The song helped introduce European pop to a whole new audience.

“Drive” by The Cars

Song year: 1984

Though they started as a nervy rock outfit, by the time The Cars recorded “Drive,” they had grown into full-fledged pop balladeers. The song's vulnerability echoes teens everywhere as they ask their crush how they're getting home.

With layers of synthesizers and vocal harmonies piled upon their ride home offer, The Cars scored the biggest hit of their career while giving the alternative kids a song to slow dance to.

“Work Bitch” by Britney Spears

Song year: 2013

Britney might be free now, but that doesn't mean there isn't still work to do. Spears makes it clear in “Work Bitch” that anyone looking to experience the trappings of fame and fortune has but one thing to do: work.

As a call to all the hustlers and hard workers, “Work Bitch” is a siren call. Britney Spears might be synonymous with the party culture of the 00s, but here we see the drive and desire of a champion of capitalism with the questions posed to listeners.

Top Songs That Ask a Question in the Title, Final Thoughts

Maybe asking the question isn't always about finding the answer. Sometimes the journey is just as important – especially when it has a great beat and melody!

We hope you enjoyed our list of the best songs that ask a question in the title or lyrics.

Similar Posts